VDI Spending Among Small Businesses at $430 Million in 2015: Techaisle

Smaller businesses are less likely to be aware of VDI than their larger counterparts, but the market is still expected to grow, Techaisle found.

As more small and midsize businesses turn to virtual desktop infrastructure solutions to reduce costs and better secure data and IT infrastructure, small-business spending on VDI platforms is on target to reach $430 million in 2015, up from $132 million currently, according to a survey of 1,200 U.S. SMBs conducted by IT research firm Techaisle. Business with 100 to 499 employees will represent the biggest opportunity for VDI vendors, and financial services, health care, professional business services and manufacturing specialists are early adopters of VDI.

VDI penetration is expected to grow rapidly to 12 percent by 2015, and the number of VDI seats to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 45 percent to 2.7 million, according to the study. What's more, a rise in the awareness and number of channel partners along with use cases could make the market grow even faster. While the awareness of VDI solutions is 5 percent among the smallest businesses-those with 1 to 19 employees-that awareness jumps to 42 percent for businesses with 50 to 99 employees, the survey found.

More than half (58 percent) of the SMBs surveyed said they prefer to use VDI on premises by integrating best-of-breed hardware brands. The report also found hosted VDI is preferred by very small businesses, whereas VDI-in-a-box suggests consistent planned usage across all segments. The improved availability of applications and access to applications from anywhere and on any device, particularly among businesses adopting bring-your-own-device (BYOD) initiatives, were also cited as key drivers of the adoption of VDI solutions in the midmarket space.

"Although SMBs are ideal customers for VDI, there are many factors inhibiting adoption. Chief among them are lack of awareness, search for relevancy and proof of concept and deployment ease," the report noted. "Twenty-six percent of SMBs also cite lack of expertise, and a high percentage of SMBs have not given any serious thought to using VDI. On the other hand, of the midmarket businesses that have explored the idea of using VDI, 27 percent do not think that there is a need for it as yet."

VDI solutions host a desktop operating system within a virtual machine (VM) running on a hosted, centralized or remote server. Although the term was coined by virtualization company VMware, there are several companies that cater to midmarket companies with various platforms, including Citrix, which offers a VDI-in-a-Box solution. The technology enables customers to streamline management and costs by consolidating and centralizing the desktops while delivering end-users mobility and the freedom to access virtual desktops at any time, from any place, on any device.